Colonel Danforth Dog Park and Highland Creek

Highland Creek runs through Colonel Danforth Park, and there are many trails to explore where you may see a variety of birds, and perhaps some wildlife.

Deer seen near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

Off-Leash Dog Park

This post documents a short trail that starts at the Colonel Danforth Off-Leash Dog Park. There is a parking lot beside the fenced-in dog park.

Colonel Danforth Off-Leash Dog Park

Although the area is large, the ground is covered in pea-gravel, which is hard for a person to walk through, and the dogs seemed unimpressed. 

Dogs playing in Colonel Danforth Dog Park

The beauty of the park lies outside of the fenced-in area. Mature trees and a shallow creek attract birds and wildlife. 

Short Route

You'll see a lot during this 2 km hike. We did this hike during a heatwave with the threat of a thunderstorm, so it was the perfect length for us.

Hiking trail near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

After visiting the dog park, follow the paved trail next to the covered picnic area.

Covered picnic area near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

Use a side trail to visit the riverbank. The water is shallow, and there is a rocky beach to walk on.

Feel a cool breeze and give your dog a chance to take a drink.

Raspberry bushes seen near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

The surrounding bushes are filled with raspberries. They look like raspberries but might be blackberries. 

Highland Creek near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

Walk in the creek for great views and a better chance to see herons and other water birds. There are several side trails to take you back to the paved path.

Just before the bridge, we noticed a deer watching us from the bushes. See the cover photo.

If you cross the bridge, you can hike on a paved path that takes you to Morningside Park as well as the main U of T Centennial Campus at Military Trail and Ellesmere Road. A future post will cover these trails.

Bridge over Highland Creek seen near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

For the short loop, turn left and go past the tennis courts where you'll see a house that needs repair. My searches haven't yet uncovered the historical significance of this property.

House seen near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

Continuing the hike to the left, we found a cairn erected in Lucy Swanton Doyle's memory. She was a journalist and apparently owned a schoolhouse on this property. The house may have a connection to her. 

Cairn seen near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

At this point, you'll be back at the dog park.

Off-Leash Opportunities

There are many large open areas, but there are also signs saying dogs cannot be allowed to run at large. I presume this is why the off-leash dog park was created. Lucy remained on leash throughout the walk except when she was in the river. 


There are deer on the property. We saw one looking at us, but other people say they've seen fawns jumping through the tall grass. We were told there is an active beaver and a dam along the river as well, but so far, we haven't located it.


As we arrived, we saw many birds, including blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers, kingfisher, red-winged blackbirds, and robins. The photo is an American Goldfinch.

Goldfinch seen near Colonel Danforth Dog Park

Trail Options

There are so many trails along the Highland Creek. Subscribe to this blog to get an email as a new post is published. 


Enjoy your hike! When you post photos to Instagram, tag us at @hikingtoronto or #hikingtorontowithlucy.


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